Westy OE & OEM wheels -- NO tire questions

Capt. Mike

July 4 2000: Wheel topic split out from former "Westy OE & OEM Wheels & Tires"

WARNING! The 6Jx14" OE alloy wheels require different lug nuts or bolts than the steel wheels used from '71 on.

The alloys use a capped nut with a different shoulder than the steel wheels. Attempts to use the alloy wheel nut or bolt for alloys on steel wheels may not give proper centering. Nuts may bottom out before reaching appropriate tightness, damaging the lug nut or stud.

Use of the steel wheel nuts or bolts on alloys may not give proper centering and will damage the lug nut seat of the softer alloy wheels.

Always tighten wheels below torque specifications when mounting and then torque to proper specifications when the vehicle is back on the ground, using the alternating tightening pattern. This will avoid warping drums or rotors and prevent wheel wobble. Be sure surface flanges of the hub and inner wheel are clean & smooth.

Proper torque for Type II steel wheels '71-'79 is 94 ft-lb.

Proper torque for Vanagon steel or alloy wheels is 123 ft-lb. except '84-91 fronts, which are 133 ft-lb.

The Eurovan manual shows several different lug bolts, which is critcal to proper & safe
fit. Use only the bolt and length matching your wheel for the same reasons mentioned above. The torque figure I've seen is 118 ft-lb.

Capt. Mike Tech Writer posted August 05, 2000 04:11 PM

For ' 92 - '2000 Eurovans

The following is pulled from the '92-'99 Eurovan shop manual:

'92-'95 Eurovans were equipped with either 6Jx15 rims 44mm offset with 195/70R15 97S (reinforced) or 205/65R15 98S (reinforced) tires; or 7Jx15 rims 35mm offset with 205/65R15S 98S or 215/65R15 100T (reinforced) tires.

'96 --> Eurovans used the same wheel sizes, but different tire combinations and a change in some ratings. The 6Jx15 rims 55mm offset used 195/70R15 97S, 195/70R15C 104/102R, 205/65R15 99S or 205/65R15C 100T tires. The 7Jx15 rims 46mm offset used 205/65R15 99S or 205/65R15C 100T tires.

VW's published 2000 specs call for 205/65R15C on all models.

The listing of rims & tires is in the Bentley Section M 00-4. Note the wheel & tires are also dependent on offset. For further explanation of the load & speed ratings after the tire size designator, consult the Michelin load chart site (URL given elsewhere in this post) or from any tire dealer.

WARNING: Wheels from vehicles up to 12.95 cannot be used on vehicles produced after 12.95!

Wheel bolts for front wheels on 2wd

jurgen Pichler Junior Member # 1318 posted 09-20-2001 04:59 PM

I currently have 14" steel wheels mounted on my 2WD 87 westy and I got a set of original alloy wheels with a set of the rear lugnuts but *NO* bolts for the front, my question is can I use the ones from the steel rims?

Capt. Mike Tech Writer posted September 21, 2001 11:55 AM

No. For the reasons answered above in the 4 July 2000 post. Some 2WD versions did not use bolts, they had studs and would then use the same capped nut as the rears.

jurgen Pichler Junior Member posted September 22, 2001 08:00 PM

Well I am not sure where you get your information but the 3 vanagon/westy's I have access to all have bolts on the front and lugnuts on the rear, only syncro's have lugnuts all the way around.


Capt. Mike Tech Writer posted September 23, 2001 08:37 PM

I got my information from VW's official factory parts fiche. It shows them both ways. Since the bolts have DIFFERENT part numbers for steel or alloy wheels, the answer is unchanged -- they aren't interchangeable! They wouldn't have different part numbers if they were the same. According to the parts book I have, both are still available from VW.

I've also seen vehicles bought new with lug-nuts all the way around. One has alloys; the other steel. Plus working on a several more. the fact that you've seen 3, doesn't mean all Vanagons in all markets are that way.

LBbusers Junior Member posted January 31, 2003 06:34 PM

tire size/wheel diameter compatibility

Capt Mike has stated previously that 205/70/14 tires can be mounted on the stock 5.5" steel Vanagon rims, as well as the 6" alloy wheels that cam stock with the Syncro. My question is: can the 185/0R/14r (the OEM size for the Vanagon) be mounted on the 6" alloy wheels? - I just bought a set of OE alloy wheels which came mounted with 225/70R/14 tires. After reading the previous postings from Capt Mike warning against varying from either the 185, 195, or 205 sizes, I realize I need to buy new tires. I've found that the OEM 185R14(r) tire from Continental (the CR21) is available still thru tirerack.com, and would like to buy those if possible.

Another question: given the choice between the 185 OEM tire and a 195/R75/14 C or D tire, which would be the better choice? And, can the 195 tire be mounted on the 6" alloy wheels?

Capt. Mike Tech Writer posted February 01, 2003 07:34 AM

The manufacturer of each tire gives both a range of rim sizes it will fit and the rim size used in giving its mounted specifications such as tread width, diameter and rolling circumfrance. Your dealer SHOULD have this data in hand.

185R14r should fit on the 6" rims. The Michelin book I have close at hand shows their MX4 with a rim range of 4.5-6". Again check with the mfg. or dealer BEFORE buying.

195/75R14D is one of the recommended size for OE replacements. The C load range is insufficient -- usually 1433 lb.; NO margin of error. The D load range is quite sufficient but typically at a higher pressure (harder ride). The tire fits both steel and alloy VW rims, 5-7" range. The diameter is basically the same so you don't have unwanted changes in effective gear ratio.

Removal of hubcaps on Vanagon

Dr Dave Junior Member posted March 13, 2003 09:43 AM

Just bought a 1987 Westfalia Vanagon that I,m restoring, what is the proper way to remove the standard hubcaps? Screwdrive, etc. The instructions are not to clear and I didn't want to damage one, thanks David

rayona Member posted March 20, 2003 03:20 AM

I just grab and pull mine off, they're sturdy enough. Just make sure to align the valve when replacing them... which involves some pounding. Don't worry, you won't crack them unless they're old and stiff.


judlandis Member posted May 20, 2003 12:04 PM

Also, an aside on wheels. The VW plastic wheel covers that came with my Westy weren't to my taste, so I pulled them off (kept them, too - they're expensive!), and went in for the "old school" look. I painted the steel rims a nice silver-grey, like they did in the '70's, and got a set of chrome "dog dish" VW hub caps. The look on an '89 Westy is, to me, quite classy.
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New member
I am still unclear about the alloy wheels and whether bolts/lugs are required on all 4 wheels or only in the back, with nuts in the front. I bought a set of OE alloy wheels for my '87 Westy, and it came with 2 sets of lugs (i.e., they are capped, not open-ended) and 2 sets of nuts (i.e., these are open-ended). Capt Mike seems to be in disagreement with two other members over this issue, but I haven't seen a resolution posted yet. Thanks.

Capt. Mike

That's because they can come BOTH ways. Just use whatever came on your vehicle! Some folks seem to think that because it's on their vehicle, that's the only way it can be, even if listed in the official VW parts fiche. VW's were manufactured in several plants and constantly do in-series changes. Some aren't even documented. The Vanagon shares parts with a number of commercial chassis in other markets -- vendor runs of a part like hubs may overlap. Lug nuts vs. bolts is so far down the totem-pole of importance why are you obsessing over it -- it isn't a big deal?

Alloys got capped nuts because they aren't covered by hubcaps; steel got open-ended because they are. Bolts can have the same appearance differences for the same reasons.

What the warning is for is that they are NOT interchangeable. Alloys get one set, steels the other because of differences in thickness and taper.


New member
14" Steel Wheels 2WD/4WD

HI, I just bought a 91 Westy Syncro with 14" steel wheels and would like to put the 14" steel wheels from my 2WD Westy onto the syncro because I like the tires on my 2WD better than the ones that came on the Syncro. I don't want to pay to have the tires switched if the steal rims are interchangeable. Thanks. David

[Moderator Note: Read post #1 this topic (Guideline #4). Rims are interchangeable -- nuts & wheel bolts between alloys & steel are not! This is a safety issue. Since your email is blocked you will not receive any further notices.]

Thanks for quick response!! Sorry I did already post #1 but didn't see where it said rims are interchangeable but did see the stuff about wheel bolts. I fixed the e-mail issue. thanks for all the help.
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